First Known Use: circa 1588
warned by one of their scouts of an Apache ambuscade, the Comanches took a different path through the mountains
Ambuscade derives from Middle French embuscade, a modification of an Old Italian word formed by combining the prefix in- and the Latin noun bosco, meaning "forest." This is appropriate, since many such surprise attacks have involved the attacking force hiding out in and emerging from a wooded area. "Ambuscade" has not changed in meaning since General Washington’s day, though nowadays we are more likely to use its synonym "ambush." That word actually took a slightly different path to English - via Middle English "embushen," from Anglo-French en- ("in-") and "busche" ("log" or "firewood") - though the two words ultimately share a relationship.
Middle French embuscade, modification of Old Italian imboscata, from imboscare to place in ambush, from in (from Latin) + bosco forest, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German busc forest — more at in, bush